Tenure Elongation: FIRS Boss, Fowler Dragged to Court
…To return all salaries, earnings during ‘illegal’ stay in office
A Federal High Court sitting in Kano has ordered the appearance of the Chairman Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr Babatunde Fowler to appear before it on October 7, 2019 and show cause why he should not be sacked for overstaying his tenure which expired on August 18, 2019.
The presiding judge of the High Court, Justice Lewis Allagoa after hearing a plaintiff’s counsel on September 23, 2019, also ordered that the defendant should be served in Abuja and filed their defence within five days.
In court documents obtained by PRNigeria with Suit No FHC/KN/CS/141/2019, the FIRS Boss was dragged to Court over his continued stay in office after the expiration of tenure.
The Plaintiff, Mr. Stanley Okwara, in a suit filed on September 18, 2019 and obtained on Saturday, also joined the Attorney General of the Federation as the second defendant.
In the originating summon, the two defendants were given 30 days to explain why Fowler who was appointed on the 20th August, 2015, has not ceased to hold office as the Chairman of FIRS after the 20th August, 2019 in accordance with the “decision of the Supreme Court…and having regard to the combined provisions of Sections 3(2) (a), Section 4(a) and Section 11 (a)” of the agency.
The Plaintiffs also sought to know whether the continuous stay of Fowler in the office “is not illegal in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in Ogbuinyinya & Ors. vs. Obi Okudo & Ors. (1979) All N.L.R. 105 and having regard to the combined provisions of Sections of the FIRS [Establishment] Act, 2007.
In the same vein, Okwara in the suit filed through Johnmary C. Jideobi & Co, sought other reliefs including: “A declaration that the 1st Defendant has ceased to hold office as the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service after the 20th of August, 2019”; and that his continuous stay in the office is illegal.
He further sought “an order barring the 1st Defendant from further holding himself out as, laying claim to or exercising the powers and functions of, the Executive Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service unless he is re-appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“An order directing the 1st Defendant to return forthwith to the Treasury Single Account of the Federation all the salaries, emoluments and such other kindred monetary benefits he has been drawing on the purse of the Federal Inland Revenue Service and file an affidavit of compliance within 14 days after the delivery of judgment in this suit.”
The Plaintiff also asked that Fowler be caused ordered to obey any other decision that the Court may deem fit to make in the entire circumstances of the case.